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Compliance to Threats as a Function of the Wording of the Threat and the Exploitativeness of the Threatener

Barry R. Schlenker, Thomas Bonoma, James T. Tedeschi and William P. Pivnick
Sociometry
Vol. 33, No. 4 (Dec., 1970), pp. 394-408
DOI: 10.2307/2786315
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786315
Page Count: 15
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Compliance to Threats as a Function of the Wording of the Threat and the Exploitativeness of the Threatener
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Abstract

Utilizing a 2 x 2 x 2 orthogonal design, the strategy (accommodative or exploitative) of a simulated soure of threats and the wording of the threat (compellent or deterrent modes) were varied for forty subjects (20 male and 20 female college students) participating in a message-modified version of the Prisoner's Dilemma game. The results indicated that when a threatening simulated source is accommodative following the sending of a threat, the target is more compliant to the threat and informs the source of his intention to comply more frequently then when the source employs an exploitative strategy. The results were interpreted in terms of the signalling capacities of threats when followed by subsequent beneficent behavior of the source. Compellent wording of a threat was found to heighten the perception of a hostile and exploitative source, increase compliance to threats, and cause the target to try to deceive the source with statements of intention.

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